Sunday, April 5, 2009

Torture And Terrorism

Should torture be prosecuted? There has been some discussion about investigating the role of torture in our fight against terrorism over the last few years. I don't think anything is going to happen. There doesn't seem to be the will either from the people or from the Congress.

I find it interesting that torture (or "enhanced interrogation" as some call it) was even an issue under an administration led by a self-proclaimed born-again Christian. I don't think Jesus would really condone torture. But that is a whole other discussion and not my reason for writing today.

People supporting torture, Cheney in particular, say we are safer now because of the information obtained using such techniques. The ends justify the means, in other words. People against torture say the information gained by torture is notoriously unreliable and that many people have died because of the unreliable information thus obtained. Most, but not all, interrogation experts agree that information obtained under torture is unreliable.

Both arguments deal with the information obtained, not the act itself.

The poster boys for torture are probably Khalild Shaikh Mohamed and Abu Zubaidah. In fact, it has been reported that "most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida - chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates - was obtained before waterboarding was introduced".

So, if torture was not effective and better information was obtained before such techniques were used, why is it being so strongly supported?

Maybe it is not about the information. Maybe what was done was first to get all the good information that they could, and then torture the bastards. It is not about justice. It is about information first, and then followed by punishment.

And Terrorism.

Yes, terrorism. Show the people bent on terrorism against us that if they get caught, they will be tortured. It doesn't matter what information they have. They will get tortured. Be prepared to suffer. And justice be damned!

That's the message that was being sent. And that is terrorism. And that puts the US, at least under Bush, in the same category as Al-Qaeda

And that's why Congress and we, the people, need to pursue an investigation of torture that has been done in the name of the United States - in OUR name, you and me.


  1. I have mixed feelings about torture, especially when I read that the majority of information gathered is tremendously unreliable (aside from Jack Bauer)

  2. My point was that I don't thing the torture was about the information at all. Whether it was good information or bad information had nothing to do with it.

    It was about sending the message "You will suffer untold misery. We are worse than you".

  3. Hadn't thought of it that way.